Category Archives: Your Private Driver

Your Private Driver: A Deal Worth Passing On?

This column provides tips, insights, and observations on TNCs like Uber and Lyft from a driver that’s worked with them for several years.

A week ago, Uber launched its new Ride Pass service in five U.S. cities: Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, Miami, and Orlando. If you’re confused when I say “new”, it’s understandable; the company has offered Ride Passes before, which for a fee would get you a certain number of Pool or UberX rides for a discounted flat fare. The new Ride Pass costs $14.99 a month ($24.99 a month in Los Angeles), and offers discounted rides of up to 15 percent (no specifics) and protection from from Surge pricing. The marketing spiel is positioning this as a way to keep prices consistent during commute times, but will you really be saving money this way?

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Your Private Driver: Upgrade Ü

This column provides tips, insights, and observations on TNCs like Uber and Lyft from a driver that’s worked with them for several years.

The vast majority of people using a ride-hailing app like Uber never think of using more than the default options for getting from one place to another. UberX if you want to ride solo, Pool if you really need a cheap ride, and maybe XL if you need to move a family gathering from one place to another. Sure, you may have glanced at the premium options like Select or Black out of curiosity, but as soon as you saw that price quote, shook your head and nope’d right back out of there.

Well, if you are feeling fancy for an evening, are those more expensive services worth it? What are you really getting for that price? Continue reading Your Private Driver: Upgrade Ü

Your Private Driver: The LAX Dilemma

This column provides tips, insights, and observations on TNCs like Uber and Lyft from a driver that’s worked with them for several years.

Los Angeles International Airport presents some relatively unique complications for TNC drivers and passengers that combine to make the experience of getting a ride there abnormally frustrating. Among those issues are heavy traffic congestion, an unusually central location on the west side of the city, and a cramped area which is really too small to serve the country’s second-busiest airport. Yes, I know that a convenient location may not seem like much of an issue, but I’ll get to that part in just a moment.

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Your Private Driver: The Uber Traveller

This column provides tips, insights, and observations on TNCs like Uber and Lyft from a driver that’s worked with them for several years.

The consideration of whether or not to utilize a rental car on your next vacation isn’t anything new. For a few years now cost-conscious travelers have discovered that using a TNC service in lieu of renting a car can be cheaper for most visitors. Yes, that compact car from Enterprise says that it only costs $20 a day, but after insurance, taxes and fees, gasoline, and especially parking, that rental car can get significantly more expensive to deal with over the course of a trip. Business travelers have largely already realized this, and as a result Uber and Lyft have significantly eroded rental car companies’ share of the ground transportation market.

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Your Private Driver: Uber Versus Lyft

This column provides tips, insights, and observations on TNCs like Uber and Lyft from a driver that’s worked with them for several years.

In the ride-hailing app wars, two companies have emerged to compete for dominance of the already crowded market: Uber and Lyft. In the cities where they operate, both services offer a similar experience for a similar price. So does it actually matter which service you choose to get around? Well, Lyft definitely has the more social-media friendly image after The Great PR Disaster that was Uber’s 2017. Despite that, Uber has managed to maintain its crown as the king of market share, accounting for a whopping 74.3% of all trips in the United States, the only country where rival Lyft currently operates.

Other than image, there are some minor differences between Uber and Lyft, but are they enough to actually sway your decision regarding what app you should use? Let’s find out….

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Your Private Driver: So how much money can you really make driving for Uber?

This column provides tips, insights, and observations on TNCs like Uber and Lyft from a driver that’s worked with them for several years.

“How much money do Uber drivers make?”

It’s by far the most common question asked regarding Uber. I hear it from curious passengers. I read it on online forums and social media spaces from people looking to make some extra cash. I see it asked by those who have recently found themselves either unemployed or under-employed hoping that they can still find a way to keep the lights on and food on the table. Everyone has their own financial goals in mind, and want to know if Lyft or Uber or a similar service can help them achieve them. Unfortunately, it’s also the hardest question to give a simple answer to.

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Your Private Driver: Surging the System

This is a weekly column that offers news, insights, analysis, and user tips for transportation network company (TNC) platforms like Uber and Lyft. Well, usually weekly, but the author has been somewhat preoccupied with a new job, new intensive schedule, and an upcoming move. He apologizes for the lack of content updates.

A new study has been making headlines this month claiming the Uber drivers have been finding ways to game the system to force riders to pay inflated Surge fares. Completed jointly by Warwick Business School and New York University, it claims to have found evidence that drivers are using tactics like logging off en-masse to artificially reduce the supply of available vehicles relative to demand, triggering Uber’s Surge algorithm to go into effect. Continue reading Your Private Driver: Surging the System

Your Private Driver: More Days of Change

This is a weekly column that offers news, insights, analysis, and user tips for transportation network company (TNC) platforms like Uber and Lyft. Well, usually weekly, but the author has been somewhat preoccupied with a new job, new intensive schedule, and preparing to move in a couple of weeks. He apologizes for the lack of content updates.

Uber has launched into its second month of the 180 Days of Change campaign focused on improving the company’s strained relationship with its driver-partners. The first wave of changes was focused on earnings, and included the introduction of in-app tipping, among other improvements. This month, the theme is support, and I want to go over some of the major changes and how they could affect the rider experience. Continue reading Your Private Driver: More Days of Change

Your Private Driver: Just the Tip

This is a weekly column that offers news, insights, analysis, and user tips for transportation network company (TNC) platforms like Uber and Lyft. 

It’s been some week for Uber news, hasn’t it? The departure of CEO Travis Kalanick made headlines, particularly since he joins a dozen other executives that have left the company so far this year. The spat with Waymo isn’t over yet. And the debate over whether or not Uber can survive the next few years without going bankrupt will provide fodder for tech and financial blogs for the foreseeable future. For my part, however, this week I wanted to focus on some more positive news coming from Uber HQ: the “180 Days of Change” campaign designed to finally address long-standing driver complaints and grievances about the platform.  Continue reading Your Private Driver: Just the Tip

Your Private Driver: The Carpool Lane is Now Open

This is a weekly column that offers news, insights, analysis, and user tips for transportation network company (TNC) platforms like Uber and Lyft. 

Carpooling remains the holy grail for transit planners trying to relieve congestion on overtaxed roads and highways. It’s inexpensive, it’s faster than public transit in any American city not named New York, and it’s the most effective method of actually taking cars off the road during rush hour. It can frequently be much faster than driving solo as well, thanks to HOV lanes in major cities. In San Francisco for example, carpoolers can save a whopping thirty minutes or more commuting from the East Bay to the city center.  Continue reading Your Private Driver: The Carpool Lane is Now Open